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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!", 15 Dec 2008
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Curse of Fenric [1989] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
My favourite Sylvester McCoy story and by a long way. Dragonfire author Ian Briggs returned to the fold with an adventure quantum leaps ahead of his 1st. Plenty of rich material as he plays with old legends, Dracula and other things in a well structured script including nuances like the commander a little too obsessed with thinking like the enemy.
Uncle Sylvester is the dark doctor to a tee, especially effective as he "rejects" Ace. Sophie gets to play Ace reacting to seeing her family history come alive. Does she inadvertantly engineer her own future?
A top notch guest cast with Alfred Lynch as the thoroughly unpleasant Millington, Dinsdale Landen as a sightly unnerving scientist/codebreaker and ....(watch it to find out) plus Nicholas Parsons as a priest who doubts his own faith. I'm not a fan of stunt casting (Ken Dodd-aarrhggh!) but the old gameshow host gives a beautiful performance. I can't mention them all but there are no bad turns here and watch for Anne Reid of "Smith & Jones" fame (obviously she's got a thing about blood sucking menaces!).
Great monsters, when the Haemovores rise out of the sea it's a standout moment and in fact a pretty well directed tale all round.
A slight demerit for the business of revealing why the Doctor moved a chess piece in Lady Peinforte's study the year before (in Silver Nemesis). Without a clip or better explanation it's just a pointless throwaway reference really.
All in all the last classic for the epic original run of the Police Box Show.
We get a feature length special edition (different to the extended video version) as well as the broadcast version and there are some interesting differences but there's still not much to choose between them for overall quality. A featurette discusses putting together the special version.
There's a master class in making Haemovores, a location recce'that makes it look a terrible place and a vintage piece from a kids show about filming the story.
A convention panel reunites most of the cast and the writer and gives an insight into making the story with plenty of good stories e.g. Sophie's dip in a freezing sea.
To top it off there's a charming commentary with Sylv, Sophie and Nicholas Parsons all justly proud of this story.

I doubt Uncle Sylvester will get a better release.
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Location: UK

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